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Declaration of Gin-Dependence

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A revisionist image of the Declaration's signing.

“Give me Sobriety and I'll give you Death!”

~ Tom Paine on feeling no pain thanks to gin-dependence, and wanting to keep it that way

The Declaration of Gin-Dependence is an historically meaningless piece of parchment signed by thirteen of the foremost town drunks in a local tavern on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, just before the outbreak of the American Revolution. It is just like the famous Declaration of Independence except that it was signed in a pub by a small group of inconsequential, inebriated alcoholics rather than by dozens of the foremost citizens and statesmen of the American Colonies in a formal house of government. The two Declarations are also exactly alike except that the Declaration of Gin-Dependence hinges on irrational fear and mental impairment caused by physiological substance addiction, as opposed to impaired judgment and irrational fear caused by exposure to taxation without representation. Other than that, they have nothing in common.

The Declaration is Draughted, Distilled and Signed

A typical night at Tom's Alehouse in the 1770's, where the Declaration was signed.

All thirteen of the habitual drinkers who signed the Declaration of Gin-Dependence were part of the regular crowd that gathered every evening at Tom's Alehouse just off the Quaker Turnpike. At nine o'clock on a Saturday night early in 1776, each of the thirteen men drank two bottles of gin and began arguing over civil rights while projectile-vomiting. Their mood became increasingly dark as they succumbed to an alcoholic paranoia of the British Monarchy.

"We hold this booze to be pre-eminent...through Gin alone we seek Liquor, Libation and the pursuit of Happy Hour."

Convinced by Parliament's recent passage of the Stamp Act and the Tea Tax back in London that the British Crown would soon outlaw whiskey and gin, the drunkards tore a blank piece of parchment from the accounting book maintained by the barkeeper and scribbled up a ridiculous manifesto concerning their "right" to swallow boot-fulls of gin and blackout in an alcohol-induced stupor at any given time, for any given reason. They then promptly each signed the "Declaration" and passed into unconsciousness.

Seeing the thirteen men on the verge of alcohol poisoning and lying in their own filth, the barkeep decided he had better take the Declaration and lock it away before it became soaked with urine and regurgitated gin. The document was discovered under the floorboards of Tom's Alehouse two hundred years later when the building was being demolished to make way for a Coors brewery.

Fatal Hangover from the Declaration of Gin-Dependence

Treason, of course, was a hanging offense in the American Colonies as ruled by Great Britain at the time. When the thirteen men awoke with atrocious hangovers and double vision the next morning, they stumbled into the realization that they were now enemies of the state. They had barely slogged twelve steps across the street to the local Magistrate's office to blame their misconduct on adulterated liquor when, suddenly, a crowd of townspeople hailed them as heroes and liberators willing to die for the cause of American Independence. Before any of them could respond, a regiment of British regular troops, commonly known as "Redcoats," lined up next to the Magistrate's building and fired their muskets into the crowd, killing all thirteen of the men who signed the Declaration of Gin-Dependence. The men posthumously became known as the "Floundering Fathers" during the American Revolutionary War as a result of their bumbling step into the spotlight of patriotism, as well as their tragic misstep into deadly imperial gunfire.

Anonymous Identities of the Alcoholics Who Signed the Declaration

Historians concur that thirteen men signed the Declaration of Gin-Dependence, but not much else is known with any certainty. First of all, the bottom portion of the Declaration containing the signatures of the Floundering Fathers became soaked in 90-proof gin and caught on fire the night it was signed. Therefore, not all of the names on the document survived. Also, even where signatures remained legible, the signers only wrote their first names or nicknames: "Silly Joel"; "John at the bar"; "Davey, still in the Navy"; "Paul the Real-Estate Novelist"; and the "Old Man who whacks off in his gin."

A Transcript of the Text of the Declaration

This is how it all began.
Tanqueray has released a special "Floundering Fathers" edition of gin to commemorate the Declaration of Gin-Dependence.

Although most of the signatures of the Declaration are lost to history, the text of the actual body of the document remained intact. What follows is a transcription of its pointless, drug-addled words:

The Declaration of Gin-Dependence: A Transcription


When in the Course of social events, it becomes necessary for some people to dissolve their open tabs with distillery brands which had connected them with certain liquors, and instead choose from the flowers of the juniper, the separate and unequaled libation to which the Laws of Neurology and of Biochemical Addiction bind them, decent respect for all the spirits of mankind requires that they should declare by name the concoction which compels them toward their intoxication.

We hold this booze to be pre-eminent; that all Gin is without equal; that Gin is endowed by its Distillers with certain incomparable might; that through Gin alone we seek Liquor, Libation and the pursuit of Happy Hour. --That to secure this vice, distilleries and pubs are instituted among Men, deriving their lust and power from the consent of the addicted. --That whenever any Bar or Tavern becomes obstructive of these ends, it is our Right as Gin-Dependent Alcoholics to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Drinking Establishments, laying their foundations on such pitiful and compromising need in addictive form, as to us shall seem most likely to expel our Sobriety and Unhappiness. Temperance, an unholy creed, will dictate that Taverns long established should and ought be razed for self-righteous causes; but contrarily, all experience hath shewn that mankind are supposed to smother out the ills they find insufferable by blinding themselves with alcoholic spirits in the form to which they are biologically adjusted. Yet the history of the present Constable in town is a history of repeated alcohol confiscation, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolutely Dry and Gin-less state here in this place. To avoid this, his attacks we have listed for a thirsty world:

He has abused our Gin Baskets and Pots, which be most wholesome and necessary for the public grog.

He has sprawled all over the locations of our wild parties to places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of our Gordon’s and Beefeaters, for the sole purpose of impeding our defiance with delirium tremens, so as to see us remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of perspiration from without, and convulsions within.

He has made us dependent on his Will alone, for the procurement of our distilled beverages, and the amount and cost of their calories.

He has conspired with lawyers to enact Prohibition codes fatal to our alcoholic constitutions and unaccepted by our cause, giving his Consent to their Acts of Anti-Liquor Law Making:
-For cutting off our Tanqueray from all parts of the world;
-For depriving us of many cases, casks, and kegs of Bombay Sapphire and Dry Vermouth;
-For transporting away our beloved Seagram’s, leaving us to be dried-out on picket fences.

He has decimated Drinking Establishments here, by declaring them outlawed by Prohibition and slamming Bar Doors shut against us.

In a gin-fueled rage caused by our Obsession with hard Drinking, we demanded Redress in slurred and mumbled terms; our rambling Admonitions have been answered only by depleted ginneries. We must, therefore, accept the cold reality, which enhances our Desperation, and hold ourselves to the test which we hold the rest of mankind: Enemies if Sober; Inebriated as Friends.

We, therefore, being recognized as the Most-Sighted Inebriates in America, in Tom’s Alehouse, Disheveled, applauding Gin as the Supreme Booze of this world and ourselves as the poster children of addiction, do drunkenly publish and declare, That these Most-Sighted Inebriates are, and of Right ought to be set Free to their Gin-Dependent States; that we are Absolved from further Attendance at meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, and that all physical connection between ourselves and the State of Intoxication, is and ought to be totally upheld; and that as three and ten Gin-Dependent Degenerates, we have no Power to resist Bars, elude disease, contravene Ambulances, suppress Vomit, or avoid other Unsanitary Acts and Destructive Things which Gin-Dependent Degenerates always run right into. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm dependence on the insulation from daily life caused by addictive Gin and Tonic, we half-consciously pledge to each other our Livers, our Best Gins and our psychotic Horrors.

Conclusion: The Nation Remains in Recovery

It has been centuries since the Declaration was signed, but Gin-drinking Americans have finally taken the first step towards recovering their heritage by acknowledging the document as a crucial piece of their collective identity. Leading producers of gin have capitalized on this development. Tanqueray, for example, has begun distributing a limited-edition "Floundering Fathers" release of its famous gin that comes in a special collector's-item tippler. The Floundering Fathers gave up sobriety and were given death, but the true nectar of the gods - gin - lives on to this day.

So bottoms up, and Cheers!

See also

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